Monday, December 31, 2007

The Feds are here....FRANK COCONATE

Former City Employee Says He's Been Contacted Regarding Patrick Daley's Involvement In City Sewer Contract
Dana Kozlov
A federal investigation is now underway over a city sewer contract that involved the son of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

As CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports, Patrick Daley and the mayor's nephew invested in Municipal Sewer Services in 2003, but one former city employee says federal investigators are asking questions about it now.
A tearful Mayor Daley, responding to reports of his son, Patrick, and nephew Robert Vanecko's investment in a sewer company that did business with the city said, "I hope those people understand that Patrick is a very good son. I love him, and Maggie and I are very proud of him. I hope you respect I have nothing more to say on this."
Now, a former city sewer worker says the FBI wants to know more about those deals, and, through his attorney, asked to interview him.
"I believe there is definitely an investigation 'cause there is no way… I felt like them contacting me showed me they're pretty serious about getting to the bottom of this," said former city worker Frank Coconate.
Coconate worked for the sewer department for 27 years but was fired in 2005. Since then, he's been a vocal Daley critic. In this case, Coconate says Municipal Sewer Services, the company Daley and Vanecko invested in, was doing taxpayer paid work for the city, even though city crews could have done the work themselves.
"Here's this kid owning a company to clean sewers when we have the equipment and the manpower sitting in the yard," Coconate said.
Coconate says when he questioned those M.S.S. crews, his bosses told him they were Daley's people, and to leave them alone.
Better Government Association investigator Dan Sprehe says questionable contracts aren't the only concern. The timing of Patrick Daley's disclosure and who, with the city, knew about his connections and when are also potential problems.
"We just are continually hit with this barrage of things that stink," Sprehe said. "Of course, the question is, with M.S.S.'s business skyrocketing, what what was behind all that?"
In a statement to employees, M.S.S. Chairman Robert Bobb acknowledges there were "a number of mistakes or oversights with regards to filings," and that the person responsible is no longer with the company. He also states Patrick Daley and Vanecko's "investments were passive" and "made long after the company had been awarded city contracts."
Mayor Daley's spokesperson, Jackie Heard, says she's not aware of any federal investigation into the matter.
As for city workers and trucks sitting idle while the private, M.S.S. crews worked instead, Heard says she's still checking on that.
The FBI told CBS 2 the agency cannot confirm or deny the existence of any investigation until an arrest is made.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

From Chicago Clout

Neil Steinberg describes Mayor Daley exactly

Neil, your honest writing skills and perfect description of Daley is worth a second look by all Chicago Clout fans. I would not have been so nice. Mayor Daley's globetrotting is costing taxpayers money, trust me.
Daley a pitchman? Hardly December 30, 2007 BY NEIL STEINBERG Sun-Times Columnist So let me get this straight . . . the argument is that Mayor Daley is taking all these trips abroad, wandering the globe like a milkweed puff, all expenses paid by his rich pals, in order to improve the image of the city abroad and help promote business? "This builds on the marketing of Chicago," Jerry Roper, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, which has paid for some of the mayor's jaunts, told the Chicago Tribune. Ah, hahahahahahahaha. Does anybody really believe that? Or should I say, does anybody who has ever spent time with Daley really believe that? Chicago's mayor may have transformed the city into heaven on earth -- at least in certain spots -- but in person he's an overbearing, charmless, abrupt man who couldn't sell tuna fish to cats. Awkward in his own skin, squirming, sputtering, uncomfortable, poorly spoken, vindictive, bored, florid, disheveled, mean -- really, this is the face that Chicago is projecting to the world? At least gin up an excuse that makes sense -- he likes to be able to walk in public without people lunging to kiss his ring; Maggie likes to shop in Milan; he wants to relax in cities where he doesn't have to worry about being asked about his son Patrick's business dealings. Something plausible. But Richard M. Daley, Chicago's own Keebler elf, ringing the globe like Santa, bringing awareness of our great city to unwashed Parisians and unaware Berliners? That's a joke. Tough to buy explanation of mayor's travels -- or that he could sell city

Monday, December 24, 2007

Whistleblower files suit to get job back

December 24, 2007

Political activist, whistleblower and now-fired city employee Frank Coconate filed suit today in an effort to get his job back. Coconate, a former city water department employee since 1978, was fired in July 2005 for allegedly falsifying work sheets and related issues.

In November, a city board upheld his termination, leading to the lawsuit filed by attorney Frank Avila Jr. in Cook County Circuit Court.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daley Corruption at it again

Clockwise from bottom left: Joseph McInerney, Robert Vanecko, Mayor Richard M. Daley, the mayor's son Patrick Daley, and Robert Bobb. (Sun-Times files)
Sun-Times Exclusive: Daley’s son had secret deal Mayor Daley’s son Patrick had a hidden interest in a sewer-inspection company whose business with the City of Chicago rose sharply while he was an owner, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found. Patrick Daley invested in Municipal Sewer Services in June 2003, along with Robert Vanecko, a nephew of the mayor. The pair cashed out their small investment about a year later.

What about the deal with concourse communications. Pat Daley worked there and now they have the wireless contract at midway & Ohare

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Reverends at it again

Sharpton calls on Chicago to fix police brutality or he'll work against Olympics

The Reverend Al Sharpton has a message for the city of Chicago: do something about police brutality, or he'll work to ensure that the 2016 Olympics won't come to Chicago.

Sharpton is demanding that the city show evidence of "concrete steps" to address what he calls "rampant police brutality and misconduct" in the Chicago Police Department.

If it can't, Sharpton says, he is prepared to lobby the International Olympic Committee to take Chicago's bid out of consideration for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Old broken down equipment

Trucks clear streets before weekend storm

The city's Department of Streets & Sanitation needed only half its snow-fighting trucks Friday morning to finish clearing the snow from Thursday night’s storm. Another storm is expected to hit the Chicago area Saturday.

About 8 p.m. Thursday, the Department of Streets & Sanitation deployed 273 snow-fighting trucks to clear the roads. However, half the trucks were sent home about 1 a.m., the department said.


Many of the snow vehicles are in need of serious repair. I was listening to the scanner the other night and heard many downs due to hydraulic hoses and other mechanical problems

Does anyone else have any infromation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What about phony Alderman ??????

Alderman want to crack down on phony city stickers

December 5, 2007
Chicago aldermen were poised to move today to shut down a “widespread black market” in counterfeit city stickers to boost city revenues by as much as $5 million a year.

At the request of Inspector General David Hoffman and City Clerk Miguel del Valle, the City Council’s Traffic Committee was scheduled to approve an ordinance imposing stiff new penalties for those who sell and manufacture bogus stickers and against motorists who purchase and display them.

Manufacturers would face six months in prison and an unspecified forgery fine. Those who purchase bogus stickers for as little as $25 — compared to $75 for passenger vehicles and $90 for SUV’s — would face the same penalty as those who display a counterfeit temporary license plate. They would have their vehicles booted, then impounded and be slapped with a fine as high as $1,000, plus towing and storage fees.

The ordinance gives police officers and parking enforcement aides “probable cause” to believe a sticker is counterfeit “whenever the sticker is missing one of its visible security features or the emblem appears on its face to be counterfeit.” Impounded vehicles would be returned only after the owner presents proof that a valid sticker has been purchased.

Hoffman urged aldermen to tighten the noose after a yearlong investigation that identified 388 counterfeit stickers — 94 percent of them at city auto pounds and at least one on a car that belonged to a city employee.

“If this was a counterfeiting problem that appeared to be caused by one high-volume manufacturer, the best solution to this problem would be to catch and prosecute the manufacturer. But that is not the nature of the problem here,” Hoffman wrote in a report to Mayor Daley and 50 aldermen in early November.

“This is a counterfeiting problem apparently caused by a large number of small manufacturers using relatively unsophisticated equipment…In this age of Photoshop, widespread scanners and color printers, it is very easy to manufacture poor- or medium-quality counterfeits…Anyone with a color ink jet printer can make a bad quality copy of one. Apparently that is sufficient to avoid detection most of the time.”

Hoffman’s projection that a crackdown would generate as much as $4.7 million in new revenue could not come at a better time.

Daley’s 2008 budget was precariously balanced with $276.5 million worth of increased taxes, fines and fees, including a new, $120 sticker fee for SUV’s.

The inspector general launched his investigation in September, 2006 after an unidentified motorist attempted to reclaim a vehicle at a city auto pound by presenting a counterfeit sticker. An alert auto pound employee noticed that she had recently released another car with that same sticker number.

After perusing an internal database for all city auto pounds, she noticed that several other cars processed over the prior two months bore that same sticker number.

Investigators subsequently interviewed more than 50 people who came to city auto pounds to pick up vehicles bearing counterfeit stickers. A “large number” of them said they had gone to a currency exchange with the intention of buying a sticker at the full price of $75 for a passenger vehicle only to be confronted on the street outside with someone selling stickers for $25-to-$40. They bought the bogus stickers at 15 different locations.

The investigation struck paydirt at city auto pounds, but didn’t stop there.

In April, a parking enforcement aide found two cars parked on one block with the same sticker number.

“As the PEA was writing a citation on one of the cars, she was confronted by the car’s owner. The owner turned out to be another city of Chicago employee, who was off-duty and lived in the neighborhood,” Hoffman wrote. The employee’s title and identity were not revealed. A footnote states, “This matter is the subject of a separate IGO investigatory report.” Hoffman refused to elaborate.

In June and July, Chicago Police officers made two arrests for possession of bogus stickers. One of the men had 18 bogus stickers and was “in the process of selling them” near a flea market.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Corruption at its best

Clout-heavy contractor got $45K for unauthorized job

O'HARE | Firm built 'break area' without official approval

December 4, 2007

The Daley administration has launched an internal investigation to find out why a clout-heavy airport contractor was paid $45,000 to build a "concrete break area" for city employees at O'Hare Airport without contract authorization.

The work performed by Northlake-based Rossi Contractors became necessary after City Hall forgot something when it agreed to spend $22.5 million to convert a vacant military building at O'Hare into a new home for city employees to free up lucrative terminal space for new concessions.

Where are Aviation Department employees supposed to go to take a break, eat lunch or grab some fresh air?

The dilemma was quietly resolved this summer by building a patio-style "concrete break area" adjacent to the building at an additional cost of $45,000.

The work was performed by Rossi, whose owner Ronald Rossi has been described as the "best friend" of Christopher Kelly, a controversial fund-raiser for and top gambling adviser to Gov. Blagojevich.

City Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride acknowledged that the $45,000 Rossi contract was approved unilaterally, without the proper authorization.

"A line-item modification [to an existing Rossi contract] was required, but not completed. We are investigating why this step was not completed and will take appropriate action," she said.

Rossi could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a clout-heavy contractor who made millions from Mayor Daley's affinity for wrought-iron fences had been awarded a pair of contracts worth a total of $10.6 million to convert the vacant military building into a new home for city employees. That made G.F. Structures the big winner in the $22.5 million move.

The move to the military site shined new light on Daley's decision more than a decade ago to spend $104 million to acquire 359 acres of military land on the northeast quadrant of O'Hare for private development that has yet to take place.

In October, city Inspector General David Hoffman launched an investigation to determine whether a company that manages O'Hare's International Terminal got favored treatment because the terminal's operations chief had an alleged ethical conflict.